The K. Taylor Distillery was a short-lived company founded at the end of Prohibition. When Prohibition ended, Kenner Taylor, the son of Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr., became involved with some partners to create a new distilling company – K. Taylor Distillery. They purchased the old Frankfort Distillery located in Frankfort, Ky. at the Forks of the Elkhorn River. They opened for business on March 1, 1935. Unfortunately, Kenner Taylor died at the age of 71 before the distillery was opened.
The distillery site included a natural spring with what was considered some of the finest water available to make whiskey. They had 13,000 gallon mash tubs and cypress fermenting vats of about the same size. They had a 4 day beer that was then double distilled. They had four warehouses that were ironclad with a total capacity of 55,000 barrels. The brands produced were “Kenner Taylor”, “Golden Phantom”, “Old John”, “Belle of Frankfort”, and “Forks of the Elkhorn”.
They started to produce Bourbon but very quickly ran into legal problems. With Kenner dead, the company had a hard time justifying the use of the Taylor name. National Distillers owned the Old Taylor brand and filed a lawsuit to protect the Old Taylor brand trademark. They won the right to call the distillery the K. Taylor Distillery, but were forbidden to use the Taylor name on a brand. When the lawsuit was settled, the partners decided to sell the company. In 1940, National Distillers purchased the company with all of its assets, including the distillery and the whiskey aging in the warehouse. The company had only existed for 5 years.
National Distillers started to make the Old Grand Dad brand at the distillery and improved the bottling facilities to bottle, not only Old Grand Dad, but many of their other brands at the distillery. The distillery became an important part of the National Distillers assets. In 1987, Jim Beam purchased National Distillers and their brands. They did not need the distillery, but they continue to age whiskey in the warehouses and make use of the bottling house today.
Image from the archives of Michael Veach